• Natasha Hodgkins

Behind the scenes of an animated marketing video

Updated: Nov 25, 2021

Clients often tell me that they don't know how animated videos are made. Here's a peek behind the scenes so that you can see what's involved. I made this promotional video for Career and Life Coach, Alexa Doman.

Stage 1. The Brief

Alexa wanted a video she could use on her website and send out to potential clients, in order to succinctly explain how she can help her clients to achieve their goals. One important text on her website describes how she can help you to "switch on the light" and find what you should be looking for. This became the basis of the animation. The tone was inspired by adverts for the mediation app Headspace. Our aim was to achieve the same sense of calm and simplicity.


Stage 2. The Script

The text that was adapted for the video script.

For this project the script was already written. We took a text that Alexa had written to sum up her business and adapted it slightly to make it the voiceover script for the animation. For some projects the client has a script they would like to use which I adapt. For other projects I write the script based on the client's ideas.


Character rigging

Stage 3. Design and Artwork.


At this stage I looked at different references, played with colours and made some sketches until I had a good idea of how the video would look and feel. This style of animation is quite laborious as it involves character design and animation. I do sketches and play around until I know how I want the character to look. Then it has to be drawn using design software with each body part on a separate layer so that it can be animated smoothly. The next stage is rigging; the character is given a digital skeleton so that it can be moved like a puppet.


All the other elements of the animation must also be drawn digitally and the files prepared for animation. A short animation can be made up of hundreds of individual elements. Anything which moves needs to be on a separate layer.


Character design drawing

Stage 4. Voiceover

For this project, we decided to record the voiceover in-house. It's common practice for videos with larger budgets to have the voiceover recorded professionally.


Once it's recorded, the voiceover becomes a guide for the timing of the animation. It's important that the script doesn't change after this point as any changes will mean a lot of time-consuming adjustments to the animation.


Stage 5. Animation

I use industry-standard animation software, in this case, Adobe After Effects, to gradually animate the elements that were prepared in stage 3. This particular video includes a walk cycle, one of the most complicated things to get right. The movement needs to mimic a real-life walk, with several body parts moving smoothly and in unison.


Stage 6. Sound Design

The final part of the process is to add music and sound effects. At this point the video really comes to life. Some larger budget videos will have a soundtrack especially made for the video by a sound editor. For smaller budget videos we buy royalty-free music and edit it to fit the video.


Stage 7. Delivery

Alexa was sent the HD video file in the best format for use on her website and social media channels. This is what she said about the final result:

"Natasha's video really helped me show my clients the results that my services can give in a quick and accessible way. Wow! I would definitely work with Natasha again and I couldn't recommend her and her work enough."

 

Time Frame and Budget

A video like this has a timeframe of around 6 weeks from start to finish. The cost is around €6,000. Character animation is time-consuming! If you'd like to tell us about your video idea, get in touch.


To find out more about Alexa, check out her website.